Two Sudbury nurses say although their jobs can be difficult, the rewarding parts of the profession make it worth it.
It’s National Nursing Week, which is taking on more significance this year because of the pandemic. Nurses are among those who are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.
Chantal Lamothe has been a registered nurse in Sudbury for 25 years. She says it’s been an interesting experience working in healthcare during the pandemic.
“Nurses are doing what nurses have always done, which is look after their patients,” she said. “The one thing with COVID, I have in my career seen something of this magnitude globally and the rapidly changing events.”
Lamothe says she wanted to get into nursing after a positive experience at the hospital as a child.
“I actually remember being in the hospital with some breathing issues,” she said.
“And there was a gentleman nurse — and back then you didn’t see a lot of gentleman nurses — and what really impressed me I had this nightgown on that was too long. So he stood me up on the counter in the room and hemmed it with safety pins … so I wouldn’t trip.”
Eventually, Lamothe became a nurse and has worked in Sudbury during her career. She says her early years in nursing were eye opening.
“I knew what I had gone to school for and I knew what I had trained for,” she said. “But I wasn’t prepared … for how profound some of those experiences were.”
She says an experience that stands out is a patient in palliative care whose family can’t be there. She says in those cases, she’s brought her work into the room to do her charts.
“And sat with them so they wouldn’t be alone,” she said. “Was the patient alert and conscious? Did they feel my presence? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I could at least tell the family and help them with that journey.”
‘Healing and helping’
Misty Rose Paul is originally from Bear Island on Lake Temagami and is a member of the Temagami First Nation. At 25-years-old, she’s been a registered nurse for almost three years. She currently works in Sudbury at Health Sciences North.
Paul says she’s always wanted to get into nursing.
“I really just enjoy every aspect of nursing — helping people go through challenging times in their lives and working with nurses and healthcare professions to bring people to a better state of health,” she said. “Even helping families get through the harder times.”
Paul says her parents immersed her in her traditional culture while growing up.
“Growing up, my parents always took us out on the land,” she said. “We did fishing, hunting and trapping.”
She also attended powwows where she is a jingle dress dancer.
“The premise of the jingle dress is it was a gift to our people for healing and helping other people,” she said. “I’ve been a jingle dress dancer for over 10 years. That in itself is about healing and helping people, and nursing is about healing and helping people.”
As rewarding as the career is, Paul acknowledges there are difficult days.
“You do have those really hard days that are hard to deal with,” she said. “For me, my dancing is something that has helped me and my culture is something that has given me strength in times when I need it.”